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Topic: would like your opinions

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Subject: would like your opinions
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2007
Posts: 32
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I snuck in here because I don't know what to do really.  Could you ladies please give me advice?  Or at least a different perspective.

I have a 5 yr. old son in Kindergarten.  He went to part-day pre-k last year, started off this school year in a different school.  His teacher name-called and there is allegations that she hit one of the students.  I yanked him and homeschooled for 3 months.  Last month we moved to Korea and I enrolled him in the school here.

On day 2 the teacher called me wanting to test my son for all sorts of problems.  She's mentioned selective mutism, autism and something else I can't remember.  I don't want him tested!  First, the poor kid is jet lagged.  We crossed 15 time zones.  He does not like to get up early so that makes it worst.  He throws fits every morning to try to get out of school and fakes sick.  He has thrown maybe 2 fits in his entire life before this.  He hasn't seen his dad since we moved here and he isn't used to that.  Plus he doesn't know anybody.  It's all day K and he isn't used to that either since he had never really experienced it.  He's normally quiet no matter the situation.  Plus his big sister died last year and he's still taking it hard.  And he's a little weirded out that the helper doesn't speak English neither do most of the kids in his class.  The teacher has a very strong Italian accent and it's hard to understand her.  He won't speak to people if he thinks they don't speak English.

I've explained all this to the teacher.  She still is requesting frequently to get him tested.  He has no problems academically.  The principal is now involved and they're pressuring me to get him tested.  My problem is that the teacher who wants to get him tested is the one that will be doing the testing which makes it even worst.  She's looking for something and she'll make the test go her way.  I've heard from another parent that the teacher insisited her kid had ADHD their first week there too.  I know if the teacher diagnoses him with something it will be near impossible to get it off his record no matter how many times it is proven untrue.

She refuses to talk to me now and emails and calls my husband every other day with "problems" about him.  Such things as he got lost in school (reasonable.. it's a 9 building school!), he didn't eat lunch and he tried to go home with someone else (ok that one I understand the need to inform us).  But my husband is gone and can't take care of any of this.  He tells her to call me but she won't.  According to my husband I gave her the "look of death" lol  She's probably scared of me now.

I have a masters in psych and have a specialty in children.  I'm not completely qualified to diagnose these things but I do know what to look out for.  Being paranoid, I am constantly evaluating my kids.  If there was something wrong with him I would have known.  I still talk to his pre-k teacher on a regular basis and asked her and she said no way there's nothing wrong with him.

Anybody have any advice for me on how to handle this?  I'm refusing to sign the papers for now.  His ped won't do it because that's the school's jurisdiction and the military won't pay for something that the school can do.  I can't pay out of pocket because I have no idea how the medical care here works.

I've had 3 kids and my oldest was in 5th when she died and I have never had a problem like this before!  Yesterday he came home and was his normal happy self.  He said he had a great time at school.  I was so relieved and thought it was all over.  Turns out he had a sub and his teacher wasn't there.

Also is "amphibians" really an appropriate sight word for K?  I can barely spell it!

Sorry for the novel.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2009
Posts: 37
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Is your child attending a DoD school?  Where are you would be my first question.  I know in Korea but are we talking Pusan, Casey, Seoul?  That makes a huge difference.  Also, Tricare can pay for that testing and the pediatrician should know that.  If you are uncomfortable with the testing situation- which I would be and I'll explain that in a minute- you have the right under Tricare's patient rights and responsibilities to request a different testing mechanism.

Back to the school- if this is a DoD school, I am really confused why this primary education teacher would be the one evaluating.  DoD schools are subjected to the same legal ramifications as if they were on American soil, so the idea that the classroom teacher would be administering the testing does not sound right.  Her role should be just as if she was in the States- fill out any questionaires that the school psychologist gives her and allow her input in the MDE (multi-disciplinary evaluation).  Of course, if it's not military affiliated, the rules will be different and so should your rights.

In my humble opinion, if there is that much of a push to have him tested, I think he probably should be at least evaluated.  That gives everyone a sense of what is going on and may help you immensely in his education.  I also think you need to take a look at both the Tricare Rights and Responsibilities code and that of the school (every school, if DoD, is required to give out a sheet that educates a parent of his/her rights and responsibilities). 

I am not there to see your child in person, so it's very difficult to say what I'd do, but the definite first place I'd start is in checking out your options.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,583
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Chelle gave you some excellent advice.  I'm a special ed teacher currently working with K-3.  If I had a student who had gone through everything you described, I wouldn't be pushing for academic testing right now.  He's had some enormous life changes in the last year though and maybe he could benefit from some counseling to help him with some coping skills. I know this is your specialty, but we all know that treating our own isn't the best idea; we're too close to the situation to be completely objective.  Also, is there another kindergarten class in the school?  It sounds like there's a personality conflict between the teacher and your son and while I usually wouldn't suggest this, if there's another K class, you might want to see if the school would be open to switching him to that other class. 

We have the word amphibian in the science program for our kindergarten classes, btw.  Kindergarten is the new first grade.  I'm constantly amazed at what children are expected to learn at that age.  No more learning through play and developing social skills, it's largely academic in nature.

Good luck with the school.